Obituary Record

Kenneth Charles (Dr.) Bagby
Died on 6/21/2021
Buried in Blair Cemetery

#1-Published in the Enterprise June 25, 2021


Kenneth Charles Bagby passed away June 21, 2021. Private services will be held. A live stream of the service will be available Saturday at 11 a.m., on Blair First United Methodist Church’s Facebook page.

Kenneth Charles Bagby (Chuck) was born July 14, 1934, in Big Springs, to Georgia (Wilson) and Ken Bagby. The family soon moved to Sidney, where Georgia and Ken ran a Texaco filling station. Chuck had many talents in high school, playing in the band as an accomplished clarinetist. He also played basketball, and was the starting center on the Sidney Maroons football team, where he was co-captain with his friend Jon McWilliams of later UNL Cornhusker fame. They went undefeated his senior year, earning him a spot on the Panhandle-B All-Conference team. In 1952 he was senior class president and Valedictorian. He was very active in the Methodist Church youth group in Sidney, which led him to study ministry at Nebraska Wesleyan University.

After two years in the ministry program at Wesleyan, while playing football, basketball, and clarinet, Chuck discovered his talent in the sciences. While pondering why his theology classes didn’t inspire him, his friend and roommate Robert Jewett, later a noted theologian, helped him see medicine as another way to serve God through helping others. Inspired by one of his science professors, and other pre-med students on campus, Chuck switched his major midway through his studies to pre-med.

Needing to catch up through a Wesleyan introductory biology class, Chuck met Carole Allely, whose older brothers John and Don were football teammates. Chuck and Carole fell in love “over a dead frog,” as Carole puts it. They were engaged on Easter Sunday of 1956. Chuck loved to say “It was also April Fools’ Day, and she said yes anyway.” They married Dec. 18, 1956, in Carole’s hometown Methodist Church in Tekamah. Chuck attended medical school at the University of Nebraska College of Medicine, while Carole pursued her RN nursing degree at Nebraska Methodist Hospital, both in Omaha. They were blessed with their first son David in 1959. Chuck graduated from medical school in 1960.

Dr. Bagby interned at Nebraska Methodist Hospital for a year. The small family moved to Greeley, Colo. in 1961, where he worked with Carole’s uncle, Jim Allely, and her brother Don in their medical practice. That summer the Berlin Wall was built, and he received a draft notice to serve as a doctor. After a short deferral to attend the birth of his 2nd son, Richard, Dr. Bagby was inducted in the Army as a Captain, and reported for duty at Fort Knox. A nine-month deployment in South Korea as Division Surgeon with the 7th Infantry Division Artillery followed in 1962, where he also volunteered at an orphanage. During that time, Carole moved back to Tekamah to receive help from her parents in caring for the two boys.

After his focus on preventive medicine and field sanitation in Korea, Dr. Bagby sought a short-term medical residency in Omaha to refresh his skills in patient care. In 1964 the Blair Clinic welcomed him with open arms and strong need for a new doctor! The Bagbys fell in love with the community in Blair, and Dr. Bagby officially joined the Blair Clinic Building Corporation. The family welcomed the birth of Jeff in 1967, and Kathleen in 1970.

Dr. Bagby and Carole continued their devotion to their faith and to community service by joining the First United Methodist Church, the Lions Club, and other community organizations. He served in turn as Medical Director at Memorial Community Hospital (MCH), where he attended at over 2,000 births, including “13 and one-half sets of twins.” In later years as President of the Blair MCH Foundation, he helped fundraise and make decisions at a critical time.

Doc and Carole worked tirelessly for the Black Elk-Neihardt Park Board, serving at times as President, Secretary, and Treasurer; and with many friends, they were instrumental in building the Tower of the Four Winds, and again 30 years later in restoring and renewing the mosaic, and creating a permanent maintenance fund. In 1999, Doc and Carole received the Dana College Community Service Award, and in 2000 the Blair Area Chamber of Commerce Community Service Award. Numerous other community projects and recognitions exemplified not only their love of service, but their devotion to the people and Blair’s unique charm. After retiring from the Blair Clinic in 2001, Doc worked part-time for MCHHS at the Fort Calhoun clinic for a while. He and Carole enjoyed retirement greatly, building the Healing Garden Railroad at MCH, and traveling and playing with their grandchildren and great-grandchild.

Doc suffered a stroke in March of 2021, which affected his body, but not his mind and spirit. Since then, he was visited by all 4 of his children, family members and friends, which brought him great comfort as his body declined. He passed into Heaven on June 21, 2021.

He is survived by his wife Carole (Allely); son David of Lincoln; son Richard of Lincoln and his family, grandson Brandon Mullen-Bagby and his wife Melissa Lee, and great-granddaughter Ruby Lee of Silverton, Ore.; and granddaughter Kerstin Mullen-Bagby of Lincoln; son Jeff and his wife Melanie of Cloverdale, Calif.; and daughter Kathleen Coate and her husband Paul, and grandchildren Genevieve and TJ Coate of Bloomington, Minn.

If you haven’t heard Doc’s stories, you must not have ever spent more than five minutes at a time with him. Check out his book at the Blair Library, “Nuggets from the Golden Age of Medicine: No Relationship to Money”.

To honor Doc’s devotion to the health of the Blair community, get your shots, and bring a friend. Post a picture with #shots4doc to share your for vaccine locations, call the Blair Clinic at 402-426-4611; check your local pharmacy, or text your ZIP code to 438829, or call 1-800-232-0233. Other memorials to: Blair First United Methodist Church Foundation, Blair Memorial Community Hospital Foundation, Washington County Community Foundation; consider directing it to Black Elk-Neihardt Park.

Private family services will be held.

#2-Printed in the Enterprise July 2, 2021

By Leeanna Ellis -

Charles Bagby was nine years old when he was nearly hit by a car while riding his bicycle. Rather than ending up under the vehicle like his bike, Bagby found himself 15 feet away from the crash.

From that moment on, Bagby felt he was meant to serve a higher purpose.

“There was something he needed to do to serve people and to serve God,” his daughter, Kathleen Bagby Coate, said.

That led him to study ministry at Nebraska Wesleyan University.

But after two years in the program, Bagby realized ministry didn't quite fit. After talking with his mentors and realizing his skills in science, he switched his major to pre-medicine.

“That's the connection between serving people and science,” Kathleen said. “He really saw medicine as way to help people — not just the science part of it but the humanity part of it he really liked.”

Bagby, affectionately known as “Doc,” who practiced medicine in Blair for more than 40 years, died June 21 after suffering a stroke in March. He was 86.

Bagby began his career in Blair in 1964, joining Drs. Rudy Sievers and Leslie Grace at the new Blair Clinic located next to Memorial Community Hospital. He rented space before becoming a full partner a few years later, according to his book “Nuggets from the Golden Age of Medicine.”

“From the mid-1960s until the early 1990s, I delivered about 90 to 110 babies every year,” he wrote. “That actually is more than some OB specialists delivered in the big city.”

Family practice was a good fit for him, his daughter said.

“He liked seeing families all the way through from birth all the way through their lives and serving entire families,” Kathleen said. “A lot of people in Blair will say he delivered me and my kids and my grandkids.”

Doctors who worked alongside Bagby described him as a “hard-working” and “conscientious” man.

“He was an excellent physician,” said Dr. Chauncey Wilkins, who worked as a partner with Bagby for 25 years. “He stayed up to date on new things as they came out. He was always our leader when it came time to recruiting new physicians.”

Dr. John Simonson, who began working at the Blair Clinic in 1997, said Bagby was very approachable and would sit and talk to anyone.

“I don't think he was any different as a doctor than as he was as a person. I think if you knew him as a person, he was just a kind, easygoing individual,” Simonson said. “He was a very talented physician. He was very knowledgeable and a very good doctor, but just a real nice guy. He really cared about his people and his patients, he cared about the clinic, he cared about the town. That's just the type of guy he was.”

Simonson acknowledged what Blair has today — the clinic and the hospital — is a part of Bagby's legacy.

“They started the clinic and built that clinic and took care of that hospital and it basically led into what we have now. Everything we have now, they're the foundation of that,” he said. “You build a building, you've got to have good bricks and they were the bricks.”

While family was important, Bagby's wife, Carole, whom he met in college, and his children, David, Richard, Jeff and Kathleen, knew his work would come first. Sixty to 70 hour work weeks were pretty common.

“He knew that I knew what hard work meant and that that would come first and he would work the family in whenever he could,” said Carole, who also called her husband her “rock.”

“He picked my mom very carefully,” Kathleen said. “He totally fell in love with her in college and knew she would be a good mother as well as a good wife. She was totally devoted to us kids. She didn't work outside the home. I think he felt very trusting of her, so it allowed him to devote his time to his patients.”

Bagby did make time for family, including his children's concerts, plays and musicals.

“He very much supported us doing those things,” Kathleen said. “He was there. He would come and that was a priority for him. He really carved out those important moments.”

Family dinners were important, too.

“We tried to do that every night even if we had to wait for him,” Kathleen said.

Bagby always said the prayers before dinner. One night, though, he was evidently very tired.

“We'd bow our heads and he would start the prayer. We'd wait for him to start it. One night he bowed his head and he thought he was answering the phone,” Kathleen said. “He was so tired. He just bowed his head and said 'Dr. Bagby.'”

Though Bagby stayed busy with his practice, he and Carole also found time to get involved in various organizations and service clubs in the community.

Allison Matson met the Bagbys through the Washington County Performing Arts Association. Both served on the board. When the couple learned she worked in communications, they recruited her and her husband, Aaron, to join the Black Elk-Neihardt Park Board.

Doc and Carole worked tirelessly for the board, serving as president, secretary and treasurer. They were also very passionate in seeing that the Tower of the Four Winds be restored.

“He was extremely committed to making sure that the tower was well cared for,” Matson said. “We talked a lot about restoration of the Tower of the Four Winds. I know that that park and those grounds and that tower were extremely important to both him and Carole.”

Enterprise photographer Joe Burns also served on the Black Elk-Neihardt Park Board with Bagby.

“Doc and Carole Bagby's love and dedication to Black Elk-Neihardt Park was just extraordinary,” he said. “On many evenings, the couple visited the park to pull weeds in the gardens at the base of the Tower of the Four Winds or pick up and collect the small glass mosaic tesserae that had fallen from the tower mosaic. I was so very pleased that the mosaic was restored to its original condition while Doc and Carole could still enjoy it.”

The Matsons credit the Bagbys, who served as their sponsors to join the Lions Club, for getting them involved in the community.

“I just think Doc and Carole have such a heart for Blair and really had an ability to persuade people to give back to Blair,” Allison Matson said. “Their passion for the community was really evident and really got a lot of other people involved that might not have otherwise done so.”

Kathleen said her father knew how to live a balanced life, which included his faith and love of his church, First United Methodist Church.

“He could put the puzzle together of how to take all of the important pieces of your life and make them fit in a way that serves you, serves your family and serves the community,” Kathleen said. “Balancing those three things — yourself, your community and your family — not favoring one or the other, but how to make them all work together.

“To give my mom an honor, he knew he could not do that without her and he was absolutely devoted to her,” she added.

#3 Funeral leaflet


In Loving Memory of Dr. Kenneth Charles Bagby

Born July 14, 1934 Big Springs, Nebraska ~ Entered Into Rest June 21, 2021 Blair, Nebraska

Funeral Service 11 am Saturday, June 26, 2021 First United Methodist Church Blair, Nebraska. Officiating: Pastor Gina Gile. Pianist: Allison Matson. Soloists: Glenn and Amy Coates & Paul Coate. Musical Selections: ”For the Beauty of the Earth”, “Impossible Dream”

Honorary Pallbearers: Brandon Mullen-Bagby, Melissa Lee, Ruby Lee, Kerstin Mullen-Bagby, Genevieve Coate, TJ Coate

Final Resting Place: Blair Cemetery, Blair, Nebraska

Campbell-Aman Funeral Home

#4 Posted Wednesday, June 15, 2022 Enterprise publishing

A memorial service for Carole Bagby, long-time Blair resident, will be held on Saturday, June 25, at 10 a.m. at the First United Methodist Church in Blair, with a graveside service to follow at the Blair cemetery. Carole passed away Feb. 27, 2022, and her husband, Chuck Bagby ("Doc”), passed away June 21, 2021. The family is also hosting a Celebration of Life Community Picnic for both Chuck and Carole at Steyer Park in Blair, from 12 to 3 p.m. on June 25, (food provided), where the family will share memories and enjoy the park near where the Bagbys lived. In case of bad weather, the picnic will be held at the First United Methodist Church. Obituaries for both Chuck and Carole can be found on the Campbell-Aman website

~~~ Obituaries and funeral leaflet courtesy of the Washington County Genealogical Society. Newspaper clippings and leaflets on file in the Blair Public Library at Blair, Nebraska.~~~

Find a Grave Memorial #228759531

Printed in the Washington County Enterprise on 6/25/2021